Developers from Blizzard Entertainment took to Reddit on Wednesday to answer questions from the community about Overwatch 2, the free-to-play semi-sequel to the hero shooter that’s launching this October. Overwatch 2 developers, including game director Aaron Keller, answered some burning questions about Blizzard’s next game — like what’s going to happen to your existing credits and unopened loot boxes in Overwatch — but left some questions unanswered.
Here are five things to know about Overwatch 2, especially if you’re an existing Overwatch player.
What happens to your existing Overwatch currency and loot boxes?
The short answer is all your unspent currency will carry over to Overwatch 2, and all your unopened loot boxes will be automatically opened for you in October. What’s unclear is what you’ll be able to spend the old Overwatch currency on, should you already have all of the original game’s cosmetic items unlocked.
“We’ll share a more detailed explanation on all of these topics before Overwatch 2 goes live in October,” Jon Spector, commercial leader and vice president for Overwatch, said on Reddit. “To give you a quick answer now though, those existing currencies (credits, OWL tokens, and competitive points) will come with you into Overwatch 2. We are not transitioning loot boxes into Overwatch 2, and ahead of launch, any unopened loot boxes will be automatically opened with your account receiving all the contents directly.”
Spector later clarified that “OW1 credits come with you to OW2, but our new virtual currency will be the main currency, and there will be things in OW2 that will not be purchasable with those OW1 credits.”
What has the Overwatch team been doing for the past three years?
When Overwatch 2 launches in “early access” in October, players will get access to three new heroes (Sojourn, Junker Queen, and an unannounced support character), a variety of hero reworks, six new maps, a new game mode called Push, a bunch of new cosmetics, and the game’s first battle pass. That launch content has spurred some diehard Overwatch players to ask, “That’s it?” After all, it’s been nearly three years since Blizzard announced Overwatch 2 and more than two years since the game’s latest hero, Echo, was added to the roster.
Here’s what game director Aaron Keller had to say when asked about the unexpectedly light number of new heroes on day one:
“For context, development of Overwatch 2 was initially split between the PvE and PvP sides of the game, and the way it was scheduled was to get most parts of the game completed once the game was ready to ship,” Keller said. “To be clear, there is no secret vault of completed heroes and other content that we’re holding for future seasons. As we continued to iterate on the PvE side of the game it meant that the schedule for PvP content and features went longer. Many of the features of PvE, such as the enemy units or hero talents, utilize the same resources on the team as heroes do. For us it’s more important to start shipping content as soon as we can rather than holding the release of the game in order to create more heroes. This is also the reason we’re so excited to go F2P and release content on a seasonal basis – namely to release content when it’s finished rather than holding it to put into a box.
“In order to succeed with our new plan long-term, we’ve grown and restructured the team. We’re over three times the size we were at launch. We have big plans for the game, beyond new heroes, maps and game modes, and to accomplish these while still creating content for our seasons takes a lot resources and a lot of planning. For instance, we have several heroes deep into development. The season 2 hero is almost finished, and we’re in varied stages of playtesting for the next 3 heroes, 2 of which are supports!”
OK, then what’s going on with Overwatch 2 PvE missions?
While Overwatch was strictly a multiplayer game, the sequel will bring with it single-player and cooperative story-driven, mission-based content. Blizzard’s plan is to launch the PvE side of Overwatch 2 sometime in 2023, and the developer didn’t share much about the other half of the game during its Reddit AMA.
However, Keller noted that Overwatch 2 will launch in “early access” to “indicate that this is just the start of many new things coming to the game,” and that the PvE campaign will be released as part of Blizzard’s live service approach.
“We’re not ready to talk about our PvE plans just yet, but it’s really important for us to make sure that people understand the lore and stakes going in,” said Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie, lead narrative designer and writer on Overwatch 2. “We’re working on new bios, and have other extremely cool plans that will surprise even long-term fans of the lore.”
Gavin Winter, systems designer for Overwatch 2, also hinted that certain tech developed for the PvE campaign component of the game could help facilitate a replacement for Assault-style maps in Overwatch 2, which are going away in the sequel. (In case you haven’t been keeping up, maps like Hanamura, Temple of Anubis, and other “2CP” maps won’t be playable in core game modes in Overwatch 2, with Blizzard citing player discontent with Assault maps.)
Blizzard is looking into guilds for Overwatch 2
Overwatch, as-is, is not a particularly social game. But that may be changing.
“We are looking to add more social systems to Overwatch 2, and a guild system is near the top of the list for us,” Keller said. “A feature like this is a great opportunity and something we’re really excited about, but it’s a huge lift, not just for large sections of our team but several other departments at Blizzard. We have put significant work towards this feature, but it’s too early to talk about specifics or when it might come out.”
Keller added that the Overwatch team is “starting to dig into” in-game tournaments for the sequel.
More existing heroes are changing, existing Assault maps aren’t
Overwatch heroes Moira, Symmetra, and Brigitte will all see changes during Overwatch 2’s upcoming beta and when the game goes live. Moira will get unspecified “additional utility” during the beta. Symmetra’s don’t-call-it-a-rework will “improve her mobility and enable her to better react to the faster pace of 5v5 [team compositions],” senior hero designer Josh Noh said. Symmetra players should expect shorter teleporter build time and faster secondary fire projectile speed. Brigitte will get an unspecified change to her Ultimate when Overwatch 2 launches.
Blizzard also clarified that the Assault map Hanamura is not currently being reworked into a Payload map, despite what a prototype menu screen for Overwatch 2 showed last week. “Converting [Assault] maps to payload would be a huge effort and it’s not one we’ve undertaken,” Winter said.